Arthur v. Cumming - 91 U.S. 362 (1875)
U.S. Supreme Court
Arthur v. Cumming, 91 U.S. 362 (1875)
Arthur v. Cumming
91 U.S. 362
1. The term "burlaps," used in the revenue statutes, does not in commercial usage, by which descriptive terms applied to articles of commerce must be construed, mean "oil cloth foundations," or "floor cloth canvas."
2. "Oil cloth foundations" and "floor cloth canvas" are in commerce convertible terms for designating the same article, and it is clear that Congress intended that they should be so understood.
3. While the Act of June 6, 1872, 17 Stat. 232, provides that an import duty of thirty percent ad valorem shall be levied
"on all burlaps and like manufactures of flax, jute, or hemp, or of which flax, jute, or hemp shall be the component material of chief value, except such as may be suitable for bagging for cotton,"
the fact that such burlaps are suitable and can be and are used for oil cloth foundations or for any other purpose except bagging for cotton is entirely immaterial, and does not subject them to an ad valorem duty of forty percent.